The two-storeyed Buddhist Art Gallery in the National Museum in Chhauni is a conspicuous building, with its red walls, slanted roofs and vibrant windows. The torana above the door and the tundal supporting the roof are decorated with deities caught in floral waves that mimic the traditional designs found in the ancient Kathmandu Valley squares.
On 21 March, the gallery opened a new temporary exhibition to mark the museum’s 83rd anniversary, featuring 40 repatriated sacred objects, some of which had been returned to Nepal from abroad as far back as 1986.
As more and more stolen artefacts are being returned to Nepal by collectors and museums in the West, museum chief Jayaram Shrestha feels that the exhibition is most timely.
The stolen images of Nepal include sculptures of deities, temple struts, frieze, copper and ivory figurines, most of which were smuggled out of the country in the 1960s-80s.